It’s becoming a trend – acronyms are hot these days. When I was working at Bell Mobility, the big ones were IMS and SDP. Currently at Sybase iAnywhere, the activity is around SOA. What are they and why is there so much interest in them?
To be honest, all three are quite ambiguous concepts. You could ask 5 different industry analysts and I’m certain each will give you a different rendition. There is no set standard. IMS – IP Multimedia Subsystem and SDP – Service Delivery Platform deal with, generally, the horizontal integration of network assets in the telecommunications space. Currently with most of telecommunications, services are segmented into ‘service silos‘. That means they are integrated vertically – each service segment has its own application interface, transmission across through the pipe and provisioning on the provider’s end. IP is the enabler that places an abstraction layer between service/application development and the underlying network and transport. The aim is to reduce times for development, deployment and tear-down. The killer application or service is the fundamental idea. The ability to rapidly deploy services and at a lower cost means that there is really no need for that ‘killer-service‘. IMS and SDP are a combination of ideas that do not have a concrete implementation. As a result, most telecommunications companies have been quick to tout its potential but slow to actually do anything about it.
In that sense, SOA – Services Oriented Architecture is an even more nebulous concept. I won’t pretend to have much more than a small amount of knowledge about it as I’m only beginning to look into it. In a way it is not unlike IMS or SDP – SOA aims to provide services to users without their need to worry about back-end implementation. All the methods of access should provide the same result.
It’s stuff like this that I thoroughly enjoy working with, cryptic acronyms with even more confusing descriptions. 🙂